What is it about fall? I went to the farmer’s market this morning, and the air was fresh and a little damp, the market was bustling with the parents of pink-cheeked children and heaps of vegetables and fruits and baskets of fall flowers. I eyed all the produce and got a yen to cook some up… ah, if only knew how to do more than steam, boil and bake! A quart bucket of honeycrisp apples and four tomatoes (not the heirloom $5.50/lb kind, but the ordinary ones that I could grow myself if I bothered) later, I’m back at home picking through old posts for the blogs I follow and The Tipsy Baker sends me to another site where there are dozens of cookbook recommendations.
They all look great (except for that one on offal). I’m especially a sucker for books that mix recipes with reminiscence, such as Teaching Dad to Cook Flapjack.
Alas, I know myself. I have a half a dozen cookbooks already, and the only one I really use is The Joy of Cooking. It’s been around for 75 years now, and it’s the cookbook my mom had in our kitchen when I was growing up. It has very cook-able recipes. I usually recognize all the ingredients, and most recipes don’t have dozens of ingredients at 1/8 of a cup of this or a teaspoon of that. Plus it’s very handy for reminding me how to do things I don’t do very often, such as make roast beef or cook a turkey. And the baking section is full of good, basic stuff you want to eat: pumpkin bread. Date bars.
So I will sate my cookbook ferver with a copy of this month’s Cooking Light. At less than $5, I may only find one recipe I’d really want to make, but it does have interesting lifestyle-type articles and it won’t end up taking up space on my already-crowded bookshelves.
This kind of “downsizing” of desire is something Gretchen Rubin, in her book The Happiness Project, talks a bit about. It’s all about doing what really makes you happy versus what you imagine some aspirational version of you would find fulfilling. So while I imagine that I’d love to try a whole bunch of new recipes, the opportunity cost is just too great. So I’ll downsize the dream and look for a low-points version of apple crumble. Fun to make and even better to eat, accompanied by a cup of coffee, a library book and pugs.